According to reports at Hawaii News Now and Stab Magazine the WSL’s Hawaiian leg is in jeopardy, thanks to a stalemate with local authorities over permits for north shore events.
It had been widely reported that the WSL would look to move the Pipe Masters from a December slot – which made it the season closer – to a January slot which would make it the season-opener in 2019. This would create the peculiar situation that there would be two Pipe Masters events within a month, and the January 2019 one would have to take over the permit currently allocated for the Volcom Pro.
In October last year, the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Kirk Caldwell, sent a letter to all contest permit applicants, requiring them to lodge any amended applications for permits by November 9. According to Stab, the WSL somehow missed the deadline. This meant, in effect, the Pipe Masters was off, resulting in new CEO Sophie Goldschmidt having to fly to Honolulu on an urgent mission to ask for special treatment.
It got worse: Ms Goldschmidt was unable to get an appointment with the Mayor, and perhaps in frustration, she briefed the local media, saying the WSL had been treated unfairly. Surfers, including Billy Kemper, Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcia, were enlisted in support. And finally, according to Stab, the WSL has threatened to pull out of Hawaii altogether if it doesn’t get its way. The episode looms as a test of the local authorities’ patience and courtesy, as well as an early barometer of Ms Goldschmidt’s fortunes at the helm of the WSL.
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